It can be heart-wrenching seeing your loved one struggling with mental health disorders. We’ve pooled together some information that’ll help you help them.

Recognise the signs:

  • Withdrawal from social interactions.
  • Loss of desire to participate in activities.
  • Feeling disconnected from oneself or surroundings.
  • Problems functioning at school, at work or in social situations.
  • Changes in mood, sleep and appetite.
  • Difficulties with concentration, memory or logical thought.

While the warning signs alone can’t predict a mental health disorder, they may indicate the need for further evaluation by a healthcare professional.

Stigma makes it harder

The stigma around mental illness makes it difficult for people to ask for help. They may feel ashamed or believe that through sheer willpower everything will sort itself out on its own. You can help your loved one realise that they have a medical condition, and not a personal flaw or weakness.

“Mental illness – whether depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety or otherwise – should be thought of as a disease, which has symptoms and progression, and can be treated.” – Cassey Chambers, spokesperson for SADAG.

One of the most important steps you can take to help a loved one is to start the conversation. Express your concern and willingness to listen and be there for them.

Most importantly, don’t exclude them or patronise and belittle them or the way they feel.